Originally created 04/02/04

Shadow boxing

It's probably a temporary inconvenience, these relatively high gasoline prices.

But how high must they go - and how many times will OPEC yank our chains - before Americans hear the wake-up call?

And how many more American deaths must we endure before we do something to reduce our dependence on Mideast oil?

"Like what?" you may ask.

Like driving more fuel-efficient cars; carpooling more; making more use of mass transit; finally tapping into the vast oil resources in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; and working like heck to find alternative sources of energy.

The truth is, we have no coherent national energy policy - except for conspicuous consumption. And we're paying at the pump for our lack of focus and unity and discipline.

Not even the electrical blackout of 2003 shook us up enough to inspire us to hatch a plan for future energy independence. What kind of trauma is it going to take?

With the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries choosing to cut production 4 percent, prices are likely to rise even more.

The result could be a drag on the economic recovery in the United States - and that would send ripples throughout the world.

Of course, OPEC isn't completely to blame. And while the two presidential candidates are eager to point the finger at each other's party, there's only so much our politicians can do.

The real, long-term answer is that the United States needs to get a grip on its energy future. We can't continue to fill up our oversized vehicles without a care and then look around for a punching bag when it costs too much.

In truth, we're shadow boxing.


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